Jenna Turner

The Boom that Shook Tifton

May 15, 2021

Movie Special Effects Explosion
Movie Special Effects Explosion
Special effects explosion for The White Elephant Film

Tifton conversations were BOOMING when Georgia-native film producer, Alexander Kane used the Historic Golden Building for filming The White Elephant. The independent film stars actors Bruce Willis, Michael Rooker, and Olga Kurylenko. Tifton has been the primary location for filming the scenes of the movie.

For three weeks prior to the explosion, film crews have prepared the Golden Building for different scenes in the movie including an apartment and hotel interiors. The exterior shots of the hotel were filmed at Tifton’s Pink Hotel landmark.

As the owners of The Golden Exchange, we agreed to let the producers of the movie use our location since the entire building was vacant and we have yet to start renovations. We were assured that damages would be minimal and historic elements of the property would not be ruined. A rush of emotions overcame my body as I watched the reality of the explosion. In-person and on video, the explosion appears as if the building was obliterated. But as soon as the shot was complete, we were able to take a closer look and learn that damages were not anything that couldn’t be repaired and restored.

The special effects team used breakaway glass for the large display windows and the blast was created with explosives primarily with compressed air. On impact of the explosion, other windows of the building began to fall from their rotted window frames; all of which were scheduled to be replaced during our full rehabilitation of the building. Other businesses on the street corner suffered broken windows, also. We were disappointed to see that the front entry display of our building and the prismatic glass transom windows on the side of the building were blasted out during the explosion. Police, fire, and ambulatory services were on location supervising the entire process. A structural engineer inspected the building shortly after the explosion and reported no structural damages.

These photos show the after-effects of the explosion. The basement, second, and third floors were unaffected by the action. On the first floor, you can see a wall that is pushed back. That is a temporary wall that is not structural and would have been demolished in renovations. The remainder of the first floor was undisturbed.

Clean up crews collected the prismatic transom glass pieces, many of which were unbroken, and will be used to restore the original fixture. Panels of the front door entrance were salvaged and will be restored or recreated as some of them were not busted, just pushed out of the casing.

This event has created a lot of conversation around the Historic Golden Building. We look forward to making a grand impression for the City of Tifton once our renovations are complete.

Read more about our plans for renovation and adaptive reuse for the building.

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  1. […] of the building. It wasn’t until we allowed a movie to film an explosion in our building (more on that here) that we had no other choice but to restore these special […]

  2. […] of this task became unavoidable when two transoms were accidentally destroyed during the filming of “The White Elephant.” This incident made it evident that addressing the fragile state of these historical elements was […]

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